The Nebraska Enterprise Fund is Bringing a Bus of Businesses to MarkeTech!

The Nebraska Enterprise Fund is Bringing a Bus of Businesses to MarkeTech!

The Nebraska Enterprise Fund is Bringing a Bus of Businesses to MarkeTech!

Jim Reiff, Executive Director of the Nebraska Enterprise Fund, said sponsoring MarkeTech allows his organization to be part of bringing a high-quality training opportunity to central Nebraska.

This year they have decided to bring a bus of attendees to help with the cost of travel for Omaha based businesses! The cost to ride on NEF’s bus AND attend MarkeTech is only $79! 

“Market Tech brings in cutting-edge speakers that can pass their knowledge onto attendees,” Reiff said. “The location adds value and brings in a new population that typically doesn’t have access to these types of trainings.”

The Nebraska Enterprise Fund is a private, non-profit organization that was formed in 1994 to support small and micro-business development. Microbusinesses include self-employed, start-up, home-based or other small businesses with ten or fewer employees.

Reiff said NEF has three main services: providing loans and capital to small businesses who may not yet qualify for a full bank loan, training (annually, NEF trains more than 1,300 business owners or potential business owners on everything from Quick Books to sales acceleration), and one-on-one coaching (2,500 sessions per year).

MarkeTech is an opportunity for NEF to reach potential clients, but more importantly, it’s an opportunity to learn.

“We believe in making training accessible to our small businesses across the state, and MarkeTech is a great way for people to receive training and coaching that is highly informative and dynamic,” Reiff said. “People leave the conference with something they can take home to their business and apply immediately, especially for the small business owners who can’t afford hundreds of dollars for trainings.”

Reiff said he and his staff are always impressed with what they learn at MarkeTech.

“We enjoy seeing what’s possible and seeing the new ideas,” Reiff said. “The keynote speakers are almost always at the top of their game and can bring a perspective that you don’t always get unless you come to MarkeTech. We are just proud to be part of the MarkeTech experience.”

Reiff said the conference is so valuable that NEF is organizing a bus trip to bring small business owners from Omaha and Lincoln to Kearney for the conference.

“The bus holds 40, and we are hoping to pack the bus,” Reiff said. “This is a chance for small business owners to see something new and different. If we can get 30-40 on a bus, that’s cheaper than driving 30 cars out to Kearney.”

For more information about riding with NEF to MarkeTech, please contact BC Clark at or call 402.685.5500 x201.

There is still time to help Nebraska business owners GROW by becoming a sponsor for the 2020 MarkeTech Conference. For more information, visit

Early bird registration for the conference ends on March 20. The price is $99 for a half-day and $199 for the entire day for non-GROW members and $59 for GROW Nebraska members. The registration fee includes breakfast and lunch and full conference registration, including two breakout sessions, the keynote speaker, chances to network, conference swag and the VIP After Party at McCue’s Nebraska Taproom in Kearney. To register, visit

GROW Partners With Nebraska’s Largest Environmental Nonprofit To Boost Coffee Sales & Mission

GROW Partners With Nebraska’s Largest Environmental Nonprofit To Boost Coffee Sales & Mission

GROW Partners With Nebraska’s Largest Environmental Nonprofit To Boost Coffee Sales & Mission

The Arbor Day Foundation has partnered with GROW Nebraska to boost sales of its Arbor Day Coffee and to help further spread the organization’s mission.

“GROW Nebraska is a wonderful platform to help spread our mission and try some new marketing tools that we have not tried before,” said Kara Ficke, business development manager for Arbor Day Coffee. “We are excited about the partnership to spread the mission of Arbor Day Foundation and introduce Arbor Day Coffee to a growing audience.”

Coffee beans for Arbor Day Coffee are sustainably grown under the canopy of rain forests and then roasted, creating a richer cup of coffee. The Arbor Day Foundation has been producing and marketing the coffee for 20 years, and the sales of the coffee help support the work of the nonprofit foundation to protect and plant more trees.

Conventional coffee farming practices often involve clear-cutting large areas of the rain forest in an attempt to maximize production. This intense method may increase yield and productivity in the short term but ultimately leads to land degradation including soil depletion, loss of plant and animal biodiversity, and frequent landslides…which leads to increased carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and climate change. This is also concerning for the people that call these farms home.

“I think our biggest benefit of our new partnership with GROW is the opportunity to let more people know about the work that is happening at the Arbor Day Foundation and really bring forward the environmental impact that trees have.  Our mission is truly to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees,” Kara said.

Arbor Day Coffee is available through the Foundation’s website, its coffee club, wholesale accounts and through distributors. Kara said she is hoping the new partnership with GROW Nebraska will open up new markets by introducing Arbor Day Coffee to local grocery stores, coffee shops and gift stores. In addition, Arbor Day Coffee is now available on GROW’s Buy Nebraska online store. 

In 2022, the Arbor Day Foundation will celebrate its 50th anniversary, which will also be the 150th anniversary of the Arbor Day holiday.

“With this anniversary approaching, The Arbor Day Foundation is aspiring to plant 100 million trees in forests and communities around the globe, and we’ll do this by inspiring 5 million tree planters to help carry the mission forward,” Kara said. “The Arbor Day Coffee program will be contributing to this goal.”

Not Just For Businesses

GROW Nebraska CEO Janell Anderson Ehrke said GROW Nebraska works with many nonprofit organizations across the state.

“Most people don’t think of GROW Nebraska as working with non-profits,” Janell said. “Arbor Day Foundation is Nebraska’s crown jewel. It’s thrilling for GROW Nebraska to be working with them to be marketing this phenomenal coffee product and to expand its mission awareness.”

Many other nonprofit organizations, such as the Willa Cather Foundation, the Nebraska Prairie Museum, Water4Haiti and L2Kids, are also GROW members.

In addition to helping spread the word about the Arbor Day Foundation’s mission, Janell said she is also excited about expanding coffee sales to support that mission.

“We were thrilled to have the opportunity to provide those growth strategies for the Arbor Day Foundation,” Janell said.

GROW has launched or expanded online shopping opportunities for many businesses, including Dorothy Lynch and Gary’s Quick Steak. Janell said sometimes GROW ships as many as 60 cases a day of Dorothy Lynch salad dressing to places around the country.

“Online shopping is not going to go away,” Janell said. “The more we can also help each other, the better.”

For more information about GROW Nebraska and its membership opportunities, visit

Story by GROW Nebraska member Kristine Jacobson,